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  • VSL Saxophones

    Is anybody out there using VSL saxophones Complete in a jazz context? The demos are pretty horrific (the jazz ones) and don't really tell me the potential and flexibility of these instruments. I have the basic library that comes with Special Edition Extended and it's not very nice: the Velocity XF sounds like three differenet horns and there are several points where they overlap and sound like two instruments playing unison. The tones are also quite harsh and don't blend at all. I already have Broadway Big Band lites (since I didn't want the bloody banjos and Ukeleles) and I need another library to complete the sections and get more diverse performance and timber. Particular things I'm looking for: 1.- Can the altos and tenors do subtones? Is there a patch for this? 2.- Can they do realistic bends e.g. smear, doits and falls? 3.- Is there a way to control the vibrato rate and depth? 4.- and finally, can they swing? Just kidding! All opinions are welcome and appreciated! C.

  • I'm in the same boat. I kinda like Guy Bacos 'Noire' demo... eventually I hope he'll send me the MIDI for it. I think the basic -tone- of the tenor is quite good, but I too can't figure out how to get those effects.

    My fear is that there is probably a good reason it's not called the Vienna Hard Bop Library. [:D]


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    @Suntower said:

    My fear is that there is probably a good reason it's not called the Vienna Hard Bop Library
    Heh, heh, heh! Good one! I agree about the "Noir" demo, very nice, but still not a jazz sax...

  • If I can't get more jazz hands from the VSL Tenor Sax, I'm probably going to try this: http://www.samplemodeling.com/en/products.php

    I haven't used it, but... the demos sound cool and I do have two Kontakt products developed by the team (Stradivari and Gofriller) and they are -quite- good once you get their knack. The prices are quite reasonable.

    ---JC


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    @Suntower said:

    I'm probably going to try this: http://www.samplemodeling.com/en/products.php

    Yes, I have tried them. The trumpet and trombone are magnificent, but the saxes leave much to be desired. I don't think they were meant for ensemble work and the sound is too poppy or rockish... Whichever term you prefer. They don't behave like the trumpet and trombone (which have keyswitches and you can bend note depending on the velocity of a second note above or below). Overall no real use for them.

  • If ya find a sax lib that really swings, let me know.

    ---JC


  • Seems to me would be a more proper forum etiquette to have this discussion on other libraries though pm or on their own forum. Just my 2 cents.


  • Dear Guy,

    You are da man... I appreciate all your help to me recently. But I respectfully disagree and I'm commenting because I've read similar comments here.

    I think it's important to be able to say 'VSL is lacking in this area' or 'I want a feature that Vendor X has' or 'VSL doesn't do 'A' so you should try Vendor 'X'. Otherwise, company forums tend to become echo chambers and the company can lose touch with what their customers really want/need. Without that (gentle) push back, even the best companies can become a bit too self-assured. And the better the product---the more pride one has in one's work, the easier it is to become arrogant (we know what's best for customers.)

    That said, I fully appreciate that there is a very real danger of things getting out of hand, though my guess is that with a high end product like VSL this is far less likely than with many other products... especially since VSL has a kitchen sink full of options.

    I only mentioned another company because what the user wants is simply not available with VSL (as I wrote---it's not called the Vienna Hard Bop Library.) So I don't see a big problem mentioning another option both to help the user out -now- and perhaps put a bug in VSL's ear about a future enhancement. (I'm seeing a new production of West Side Story in Vancouver this weekend and it got me thinking how much I would -love- the enhancements the O/P mentioned---jazz is now part of the concert stage.)

    But with all that said, your point is well taken and I'll personally try to keep it to a minimum.

    Best,

    ---JC


  • Yes, and I must also point out that I started this thread asking opinion/experience with VSL's saxophone library. I appreciate other members suggestions of different products but my question still remains unanswered.... I like how vsl products sound and the great range of possibilities and flexibility they offer. Thus I would be interested in acquiring the whole library IF I can hear someone's work with it in a more jazz(y) context. The demos on this site are just not satisfactory...

  •  My remark has nothing to do with making constructive comments so VSL can improve some of their products, in fact I've done that a lot in the past and still do when I feel necessary. What  I was suggesting is to avoid mentioning names of competitors on the VSL forum. I  understand the point being made through this, but one can comment and be critical while avoiding mixing other company names into this. Often what happens is, before you know it, this gets out of hand and this becomes a little promotional campaign for them, even though this was not the intention. VSL is very classy and open minded about people expressing their opinions, so I can't speak for them, however, I do personally think one can be more delicate with these things. Anyway, it's quite harmless so far. 


  • Did I say harmful? Harmless was the word.


  • I think Guy's 'Noire' demo is the best I've heard---which is why I wanted the MIDI for it to learn from and build on. I am working on some (hopefully) 'jazzy' things with the Tenor Sax I just got which will require exactly the  articulations you asked about... I will report back with my progress.

    ---JC


  • Cool! I appreciate it!

  • Here's a pretty strident jazz piece I attempted with the Vienna tenor sax about two years ago. It may prove useful to contrast it to other styles of music in which the Vienna sax is used.

    [URL=http://www.planetcanadice.com/Music/BugMDrost.mp3]Bug[/URL]

    I think the vienna saxes are really hard to work with. I'll rework this piece sometime when my head is back into it.

    Another piece that may be more revealing:

    [URL=http://www.planetcanadice.com/Music/SeekingMDrost.mp3]Seeking[/URL]

    Marko


  • You could always check out "Take Five", although I had done that a long time ago, I think I could do it much better today, but still, not too bad.


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    @Marko said:

    Here's a pretty strident jazz piece I attempted with the Vienna tenor sax about two years ago. It may prove useful to contrast it to other styles of music in which the Vienna sax is used.

    Bug

    I think the vienna saxes are really hard to work with. I'll rework this piece sometime when my head is back into it.

    Another piece that may be more revealing:

    Oh yeah! Fantastic piece of music man! Still not very convinced about the sax though... When playing legato it sounds like there's two saxophones. This could be an issue of sustain (polyphonic) versus legato (mono). But this piece should definitely be one of the demos, vsl should buy it off you, it's really, really good!

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    @Guy Bacos said:

    You could always check out "Take Five", although I had done that a long time ago, I think I could do it much better today, but still, not too bad.
    Hello Guy, thank you for taking the time to reply. I have checked all the demos out, many times and in detail. I agree that Take five is amongst the best of the lot, however. I still have issues, particularly with the dynamics. They seem very unstable and jumpy (for the lack of a better word). Meaning, the transitions between say p and mf is not very smooth. All the vsl woodwind (and brass) have a beautiful transition between dynamics via the Velocity XF, the saxophones however are terrible. You are probably the ideal person to ask: is this just an issue with the VSL extended version? Is the full library better in terms of smooth transition between dynamics? And finally, are the tenors and altos able to do subtones? Thank you for your time!

  • As for your last question (subtone):

    I am a professional saxophone player, and I consider the VSL sax-samples (I only have the ones from the Special Edition) as following:

    There are 3 velocity layers in almost all patches, even in the legato (exept for bari, there are two), which is unusual for legato patches.

    The lowest velocity is subtone, the second one is regular sound, and the loudest is espressivo. So when changing (or crossfading) from one velocity to another you completely change the way of playing. A solution could be to "scale" the velocity of just one vel-zone. If you like to use only the subtones, just don't go over vel55 and use either the expression cc to control the volume, or expand the dynamic range with a plug in.

    But I second that the VSL saxophones aren't meant for jazz ...


  • Wow! That is actually very good. I hadn't thought of it. And it sits beautifully in the mix. After all I have the broadway big band playing first alto and tenor, so VSL in second gives me a really good ensemble sound, it's perfect! Thank you! So one question: how can I delete the loudest layer from the instrument? (in VI pro). Meaning, how can I set it so that the loudest is actually the second one (regular sound according to you). I tried moving the velocity line in the control window, but that still has espressivo as the fff. I appreciate your help! And thanks again for the tip! C. PS: And of course it would be nice to hear from someone if these velocity-layer issues are still present in the full library i.e. does the Bari still contain only two or is it a limitation of the Special Edition?

  • I dunno if there's an option for that in VIP. I would do that in my DAW. In Logic I could eather set a velocity range for the whole track, or do it after playing in the transform window, similar things should be possible in every state of the art DAW.

    Post your results so we can hear how it blends!